Photo Essay: The Refugee Problem In Azerbaijan, by Ilkin Huseynov

IPA Photography, PROJECTS 10 Comments

The Refugee Problem In Azerbaijan

I chose the problem of refugees in Azerbaijan as the topic for my project. Despite the fact that it is often discussed, this problem still remains urgent and demands special attention from society. A democratic society highly values human rights, such as the right for inviolability of property, right of property and integrity of personality, which a person with the social status of a “refugee” is either fully or partly deprived of.

In the photographs I have depicted one of the regions where refugees live. People in that region have been living under these conditions for 18 years now, and they are not allowed to receive a normal education or find a normal job. Their homes are often one-room flats housing up to a dozen people and on the verge of destruction; the flats also smell of moldy bread that they usually gather and sell for as animal feed.

During the photo shoot I met many of these people and visited their homes. The absolute majority of them do not have higher education and their children are not enrolled in a school as they need to work from early childhood.

Under such living conditions there is high risk of getting ill, and these sicknesses can vary from the lightest to most dangerous diseases. They do not have the opportunity to get medication or cures as free medicine is still almost mythical, and lets not even mention expensive treatments. The difficult lives they lead make many of them take up criminal paths, starting from small robberies, to distribution of drugs and prostitution.

These refugees cannot find a place and role in society often because of the inability of other social layers to accept them. This leads to many problems such as child cruelty, early and familial marriages among the refugees. One of the children of such marriages is Ismail, depicted in one of the photographs. The boy suffers from Down’s Syndrome. And there are many such children like Ismail.

Another problem in the majority of refugee families is splits in the family. For this reason children are left to fend for themselves from an early age without the attention of their fathers and mothers, sometimes both of the parents at the same time. The reason for this is the need for the parents to leave and seek work in neighboring countries such as Russia, Turkey, Iran and others to feed their families.

With this project of mine I want to draw attention to such flaws on the way to democracy. But these are only the first steps in the project I have in mind. In the future I would like to have the opportunity to show the problems of refugees in more detail, literally soaking myself into their lives and families. I would like to study their lives in different examples, because some problems become clearer only when studied in separate cases, one separate life at a time.

Often times it is difficult to make contact with these refugees. They live in such difficult situations and spent 18 years waiting for help, so it is difficult for them to preserve their openness to other people and the benefit of revealing and showing their problems to society.

I do hope it will be possible to overcome this difficulty, if my project receives some support.

Photographer: Ilkin Huseynov
Camera: Canon 5D mark 2

All photographs/art are the property of the credited photographer and creator with all rights reserved.

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